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Everything You Need to Know About Braces

braces dr chauvin lafayette dentistAt Chauvin Dental, we get lots of questions about braces. If you’re considering braces or want to know if you’re a potential candidate, first remember it’s essential to choose an orthodontist with extensive training and experience. Dr. Chauvin has a reputation in the local community for achieving great results and genuinely caring for patients.

Also remember that braces are an investment that will reward you with a lifetime of great smiles!

 

Here are some of the most commonly asked questions we get asked and our answers.

 

Do braces hurt?

There can be some swelling and discomfort when you first get your braces put on and when you get them tightened over subsequent visits. Your teeth and gums may feel sore, but this can be easily managed at home. A few options to manage the discomfort include: rubbing ice on your gums and lightly massaging them, using an oral anesthetic gel, or taking an over-the-counter pain reliever that’s approved by your dentist. If your pain is coming from the braces poking or rubbing against your cheek, we can give you a special wax to help alleviate that discomfort.

 

How will having braces affect my daily life?

The good news is that having braces will not affect things like sports participation or other common extracurricular activities. You should be able to continue on with your activities as normal, but you will have to change your care regimen and look at what you eat. You’ll need to brush your teeth after each meal to make sure there’s no food stuck in your braces, and you’ll need to floss once a day. There are certain foods you should avoid while you have braces; these include sticky candies, crunchy foods, and gum. Basically, you will want to eat things that are not going to be “hard” on your braces, so options like soup, mashed potatoes, and ice cream would all be examples of good choices.

 

How long will I have to wear my braces?

The length of treatment time varies from patient to patient and depends on the treatment end goals and other factors. Your dentist will be able to give you more information at your consultation.

 

Why do I have to wear a retainer after I get my braces off? Does it really matter if I do or not?

To answer that second question in a word: yes. After putting in all the work and effort to straighten your teeth, don’t you want them to remain as perfect as possible? Wearing your retainer as instructed will prevent your teeth from moving back to the way they were before. Be sure to take good care of your retainer so it will last you a long time.

 

Should I get Invisalign or regular braces?

Invisalign is an attractive alternative to braces because it’s clear and less noticeable than traditional braces. You can think of Invisalign as a sort of removable, clear retainer. While some patients get great results with this treatment, it’s not an appropriate option for every patient’s needs. Again, we would be able to tell you more detailed information at your consultation.

 

I’m an adult in my 30’s. Am I too old for braces?

Increasing numbers of adults these days are deciding to take the plunge and get braces or Invisalign. In fact, many of our current clients are adults. It’s never too late, so don’t let age stop you from coming in to evaluate your options.

Still have questions? Feel free to contact us or schedule a visit with Chauvin Dental today!

 

Braces Vs Invisalign

lafayette la dentist Crooked, unaligned, unevenly spaced teeth can put a damper on someone’s life. Self esteem and confidence can go right out of the window and much of your day can be spent feeling like a giant blinking sign is ordering people to stare at your teeth. Often this isn’t this case but wouldn’t it be great if you could just smile with confidence and not have to worry about it? Braces and Invisalign are a great solution.

Aside from personal hangups, if crooked teeth are left untreated can lead to oral health problems. The misalignment of teeth places stress on the teeth and jaws that the mouth wasn’t designed for.

Common types of misalignments include:

  • crowding
  • spacing
  • deep bite
  • open bite
  • cross bite
  • edge to edge bite
  • excessive overbite

Unnatural stress and pressure leads to premature wear, causing chipping and notching of the gum line. Incorrectly biting down to over correct can lead to painful jaw pain that turn into earaches and headaches. Crooked teeth can also affect periodontal health because it is difficult to perform plaque removal from crowded area in the oral cavity. Bacteria that is not properly removed will multiply and trigger periodontal disease.

Braces or Invisalign?

Both braces and Invisalign were designed to straighten teeth while improving your smile and oral health. Customers first began using Invisalign in 2000, so this treatment does not yet have the same history as braces.

Braces consist of metal brackets being glued to your teeth, and tied together by wires and tiny rubber bands. Nowadays, you can get brackets to more closely match your enamel color (making them more discrete), or you can get them in color to make a fashion statement with your mouth!

Invisalign, on the other hand, is designed to be invisible. Aligner trays made of smooth, comfortable, BPA-free clear plastic are worn over your teeth to subtly and gently move your teeth. Your specialist will use X-rays, pictures, and impressions to create a precise 3-D image of your teeth and to configure your aligner trays accordingly.

What will work best for you?

  Braces (irremovable)         vs   Invisalign (removable)  
Metal-typically silver; can pay extra for color or enamel color Color Clear/invisible
24/7 for an average of 2 years, depending on patient needs Treatment time 22-24 hrs/day for 6 to 18 months, depending on patient needs
$1,800-$5,500 Cost Average of $5,000
Brush brackets and wires regularly while brushing teeth; water pick may be helpful. Maintenance Invisalign Cleaning system, or brushing and rinsing trays in luke warm water
About every month Follow up visits Change aligner trays every 2 weeks; visits every 4 to 6 weeks
Positioner or retainer likely needed ongoing, maybe only at night Follow up to treatment Positioner or retainer likely needed ongoing, maybe only at night
  • More effective for more complex issues
  • No temptation to leave them out, so less self discipline is needed for success
  • No extra cleaning steps required besides regular brushing and flossing
Pros
  • Invisible
  • Removable
  • No issues with food getting caught
  • No difficulty eating
  • No discomfort from wires
  • May have some pain, sores or discomfort from wires, brackets or tooth movement
  • May have some tooth discoloration or breakage
  • May have difficulty eating sticky, hard foods
Cons
  • May have discomfort from tooth movement
  • Must remove before eating or drinking anything but water
  • Must brush after each meal to avoid staining
Patients playing rough contact sports regularly NOT ideal for

Patients with:

  • bridgework
  • back tooth bite issues
  • the need to rotate canines or premolars
  • the need to move teeth vertically
  • lack of discipline to keep trays in for at least 22 hours daily

If you have any other questions or want to see what your options are come in to Dr. Chauvin’s office today!

 

The history of braces

history of bracesIf you think braces are a modern development, think again.  Archeologist discovered that braces date back to ancient man over 3000 years ago.  Although, a better choice then was not letting anyone know you had crooked teeth. You would end up with what is referred to as ‘mouth appliances.’  That wouldn’t get me excited for my next selfie…

Early history of braces

Archaeologists uncovered mummified remains with metal bands wrapped around individual teeth. They used cord from animal skin (catgut) to bind the metal bands together in attempts to straighten teeth.  Installing these devices along with new teeth (dental implants) were often done after death to ensure they looked good enough to enter into the afterlife. 

The first recorded attempts among the living were by the ancient Romans. Aulus Cornelius Celsus wrote about his use of hand pressure that involved applying finger pressure to the teeth at regular intervals.  Today, many Roman tombs opened up by archaeologists reveal that some teeth of the deceased had a small gold wire that was used to attach the arch wire to the bracket. The wire was bound to the teeth in an effort to force the teeth to move and close off noticeable gaps. 

The most important breakthroughs came between 1728 and 1757 with the publication of 2 books by French dentistPierre Fauchard and Ettienne Bourdet. The first book titled “The Surgeon Dentist”  talked about all facets of diagnosis and treatment of teeth, with an entire chapter on ways to straighten teeth.  Fauchard used a horseshoe-shaped device made of precious metal which helped expand the arch, called a “Bandeau”.   In 1757,  Ettienne Bourdet’s book, “The Dentist’s Art”, also had a chapter on straightening teeth and using mouth appliances. Bourdet was the dentist to the King of France and further perfected Fauchards’ Bandeau. He is the first dentist on record who recommended extraction and the first to scientifically prove jaw growth.

In 1771, John Hunter, a Scottish doctor wrote a book titled “The Natural History of the Human Teeth,” which described dental anatomy in accurate detail.  John Hunter was responsible for coining the terms still used today for teeth, such as bicuspidscuspidsincisors and molars.

Almost 50 years later, in 1819, the first modern braces for teeth were created by Christophe-Francois Delabarre. Using a wire ‘crib’ to help straighten teeth, this marked the beginning of modern orthodontics. 

Braces during the 20th century 

It wasn’t until the early 1900’s that the term ‘braces’ was officially used. Dentists would individually wrap bands of materials varied around each tooth. They typically used gold, platinum, silver, steel, gum rubber and occasionally, wood, ivory, zinc, copper, and brass.  Wooden teeth were worn by many but made famous by George Washington (who actually didn’t wear wooden teeth).

Advancements in the 1970’s

In the 1970’s everything about braces changed. Orthodontists could now bond brackets right onto a tooth with a new dental adhesive and secure the wire to the bracket with colored ties. Wires got a new look as well: more flexible metals, like nickel, titanium and copper made things more comfortable.

Several attempts at hidden or ‘invisible’ braces happened but the techniques never really gave people what they wanted. It would be several decades before invisible braces became what they are today.  

Invisalign was created in 1997 by Zia Chishti.  Chishti was a Stanford University graduate with no dental background. She took the concept of the plastic retainer, the same one ancient Egyptians used 5000 years before, and figured out how to use it to straighten teeth, instead of maintaining already straight teeth. Along with Kelsey Wirth, they used 3D imaging software to map out a patient’s mouth and create custom aligners that would slowly transform the wearer’s smile. This eliminated the uncomfortable tightening of wires and more importantly no more ‘metal mouth.’

Invisalign was tested and perfected over 3 years before finally becoming available to the public in 2000. Since then it has grown in popularity over a decade and become the new standard for many patients seeking dental treatment.

So what’s next for braces?

Orthodontists think that the popularity of orthodontic treatment will only increase as both the cost and length of treatment time decreases. 

NASA discovered a special heat-activated, nickel-titanium metal discovered that might change the face of orthodontic treatment. It can be molded into a small wire and improve how teeth align in the mouth while cutting down on office time. 

There is also a futuristic possibility of 3-D printed braces. This was highlighted at a gadget trade show in Las Vegas.

So as companies develop more precise, high-tech materials and methods, your braces will be on for a shorter period of time, be smaller and less visible, result in less discomfort, and give great results. We’ve sure come a long way from the wrap-around “metal mouth” – and that’s something we can all smile about!

Contact Dr. Chauvin – Your Lafayette dentist if you have more questions!